Written by Samantha Evans
Active since the summer of 2009, Sublime with Rome has cranked out two studio albums in their time as a group. Of course you will hear the classic Sublime songs at a show such as, “What I Got,” “Santeria,” and “40 oz. to Freedom,” however the band was itching to make new music since the late, great, Bradley Nowell passed in 1996. With the release of Sirens, four years after their debut album with Rome Ramirez, the band takes on somewhat of a different approach than what the diehard Sublime fans are used to however keeps the tender tones of reggae in the mix as always. Back in the Sublime days sometimes Nowell would sing about not much of anything however he had a sense of poeticism about it. This album, although it has its parts of promising lyrics, it isn’t much more than a party album.
The album opener consequently happens to be the title song. Featuring the Dirty Heads, “Sirens” throws in a Beastie Boys sample and has Rome’s auto tuned voice reigning throughout, something Nowell is probably rolling in his grave over. The second track and single, “Wherever You Go,” has a catchy hook paired with jamming reggae beats. “Wherever you go, I wanna know. I wanna walk with you to the shore. Break down the walls, run through the fire. Promise me now you’ll always stay wild.” The next two songs, “Brazilla” and “House Party,” have the same Saturday afternoon chill by the pool theme, having a few beers, dancing, and having a good time.
Halfway through the album, “Been Losing Sleep” has a mix of dance and reggae beats infused with lyrics of getting ‘high just one more time” and “somewhere to hide just for tonight.” Almost a spiral into addiction. A much better, promising song, “Promise Land Dub,” has an experimental feel to it with a haunting squeal of the synth. The song would be something that would be playing in your head after a night of heavy partying where your head is all disoriented. Pumping up the tempo a bit more, “Best of Me” has distorted vocals and guitars giving the song a grungy punk sound. A little later, “Run and Hide” has the same up tempo feel with quickened vocals and jamming punk melodies.
“Ooo following orders saying ‘ten-hut, ten hut.’ Ooo put down your weapon pick your pen up, pen up.” Warped synthesizers make this song. I’m not going to lie, you know when you hear a song for the first time, love it and then play the absolute crap out of it? Just because the chorus is so smooth and catchy, I listened to this song almost too much already. Definitely the most chill and smooth song on the album. The “dance around like a complete idiot” song of the album is funnily enough called, “Skankin.” Channeling the historic up-beat ska feel of old time Sublime the song makes you want to skank in a circle pit at a show. “Bringing it back to the basics” so to speak, this song and “Gasoline” (the albums closer) takes any true Sublime fan back to the days of songs like, “Wrong Way” and “Date Rape.”
As a pretty diehard Sublime fan of course I was ready for a different sound, a different light. A member leaves the band, there’s a name change, things happen, however was I disappointed? A little. Every musician has their own and to compare any musician to Bradley Nowell isn’t fair but as I stated before, the man could write a song about nothing and it was poetic. “Sirens” had its own sense of artistry however could have had a stronger foundation.
Rating: 7 out of 10